MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - South Floridians reacted to the Supreme Court's rulings Wednesday, which overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act and rejected the appeal of a California marriage ban.
"It's a great decision, but I just think that there's a lot of growth that Florida needs to overcome," said Melanie Alenier.
"Even though Melanie and I both have domestic partnership, if I were to want to put her on my insurance -- which I tried through work, it's a group policy -- I can't because the state of Florida doesn't enforce that," said Vanessa.
The couple has been together for seven years and own a home together, but Vanessa said she worries someone could take that away from them.
"The reality is that if something were to happen to me and I had an estranged family member that wanted to come and take half this house and half of everything we own from Melanie, they could," she said.
At Java Boys in Wilton Manors, coffee drinks applauded the rulings.
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"I'm super happy about it. I think that it's a huge step for the gay community," said Lloyd Warner. "I really am at a loss for words. It almost blows my mind, it's such a ginormous thing."
"People do believe in the gay community -- what it stands for, what it's all about -- so we're just as equal as straight people," said Corey Garrison.
"It shows a major movement in equality," said Edna Chery. "It's not just that them holding positions in high places but it's also a household representation of the community at large."
"Well, for us in Florida, more than anything, today's ruling is a call to action," said Stratton Pollitzer with Equality Florida. "We are going to have to fight for our rights for the freedom to marry right here in the Sunshine State. We can't just wait for it to trickle down. Yes, this is a big step forward for the country, but for same-sex married couples here in Florida, we're largely left out of today's ruling."
But in Florida, where voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, the rulings don't change anything.
"It's a bittersweet victory for those of us who are largely left behind," added Pollitzer.
"It just means that we have to redouble our efforts to fight to bring the great results, the great benefits of this victory to those of us here in the state of Florida," said attorney Elizabeth Schwartz.
President Barack Obama issued a statement Wednesday, saying in part: "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."
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